Welcome back to week four. I almost had to skip again this week--it has been rough here lately! We got hit by blizzard Juno, dumping a gorgeous three feet of fresh white snow on us--took two days to get dug out, then another before school and work schedules resumed. So I had an unexpected houseful and a schedule tossed to the wind. Then I got the news that a dear friend's husband had passed away, the wake and funeral would be Thursday and Friday. I'd gotten absolutely nothing accomplished that I'd hoped to achieve all week, and another slice of time was cut away. But, I'm so glad I attended the service--such beautiful words remembering and honoring a most loved father, husband, grandfather...and it was just good to be in the company of my rowing/church family for the occasion as well.
So I determined to set aside all mail, lettering, and planner pursuits for the afternoon until I got my post written--all those things can wait just a little bit longer...I should have some time to play over the weekend (I hope, at least!) And we carry on with Chapter Four: Undeserving, Yet Unconditionally Loved.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I struggle a LOT with the whole feeling of being undeserving of God's lavish love and grace. I have made mess upon mess of my life and yet He's done nothing but shower me with His unlimited love, forgiveness, and bounty of blessings. I live it--every day in awe of all that God has given me. I don't even remember to thank Him most of the time. Yet every day, new grace, more gifts, unbounded love.
Chapter Four explores the stories of David and Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 4), and that of Paul. How King David bestowed grace on Jonathon's crippled son for the sheer love of his childhood friend. Paul, consumed zealot, condemner, murderer of Christians given grace by God, turned apostle who couldn't stop himself from preaching God's love-from the depths of prisons, bound in chains. He lived to preach God's grace to the rest of us until his last dying breath.
This gift is given freely. God does what He does by His grace. Because of this, I am what I am by the grace of God. He gets every ounce of credit for whatever good I am able to achieve. And just as God shapes us in His grace, we need to allow Him to be the One to mold those around us in HIS way (not ours). And since He gives us grace, we need to extend it to others, rather than trying to turn them into what we think they should be.
Grace is not something simply to be claimed, it is meant to be demonstrated. It is to be shared, used as a basis for friendships and drawn upon for sustained relationships.
"Grace focuses on who God is and what He has done and takes the focus (and credit) off ourselves. Yet it's so easy to think we need to do something to earn or deserve God's favor, as though grace is too good to be true." -Jackie Hudson
In what ways have you experienced God's grace in your life and relationships?
Do you find it difficult to let people be who they are? Why do you think this is so?
Do you find yourself being harder on family members or coworkers than you mean to be? In which of your relationships is this an issue?
Click here to listen to the chapter podcast.
Thanks so much for your patience with last week's delay, and thank you for joining me again this week. I hope you're getting as much from this study as I am. Please leave a comment below--I'd love to hear what you think so far! Have a great week--see you next Saturday for Chapter Five!